In a significant development for the digital landscape of the South Pacific, Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has unveiled the South Pacific Connect Initiative, a collaboration with Google aimed at reducing the digital divide and bolstering digital infrastructure across the region. The initiative, which includes the establishment of a new subsea cable network, promises to enhance digital connectivity and resilience across the Pacific.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka described the South Pacific Connect Initiative as a “significant milestone” that showcases the power of international collaboration and investment. He said that the initiative would forge a “stronger, more connected, and resilient digital future” not only for Fiji but for the entire Pacific region.
Google, in partnership with Fiji, will play a pivotal role in this groundbreaking endeavour. The tech giant will construct diverse cable landing stations in Fiji, connecting them with an interlink cable to improve reliability, increase capacity, and reduce latency for users in the Pacific and around the world. The Tabua Cable will facilitate connections between the United States, Australia, and Fiji.
Furthermore, Google will lay a separate subsea cable known as the Honomoana Cable, connecting the United States to French Polynesia and, eventually, to Australia. A key aspect of the initiative is the planned interlinking subsea cable that will connect Fiji and French Polynesia, opening up possibilities for other Pacific Island countries and territories.
Brian Quigley, Vice President of Global Network Infrastructure at Google Cloud, reiterated Google’s commitment to expanding internet access in Fiji and across the Pacific. He stated that today’s announcement is in line with Google’s mission to make information universally accessible and useful.
The South Pacific Connect Initiative has received support from various Fijian government agencies, including the Office of the Prime Minister, Fiji Trade Commission in North America, Ministry of Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Communication, along with Investment Fiji. Their coordinated efforts have been instrumental in supporting Google’s investment initiatives in Fiji.
Minister Manoa Kamikamica, responsible for Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Communications, praised the initiative as a “game-changer” for Fiji. He highlighted the importance of the Tabua Cable, which will provide redundancy and support new investments and growth in ICT, business process outsourcing services, and other sectors. Minister Kamikamica also underscored the potential for the initiative to connect the rest of the Pacific, solidifying Fiji’s ambition to become the hub of the region.
Collaborating with key stakeholders, including FINTEL and the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF), Google’s partnership is set to strengthen Fiji’s telecommunications hub status and provide reliable and resilient connectivity between the people of the Pacific and the rest of the world.
The South Pacific Connect Initiative represents a pioneering project in the Pacific region, addressing vulnerabilities to natural disasters while enhancing internet capacity, reliability, and resilience. It is poised to bring about a transformative change in the digital landscape, fostering economic growth, skill development, and progress for the people of Fiji and the broader Pacific region.